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I was recommended to have sunglasses when hiking in the Dolomites, as the surfaces are of rather light color and reflect a lot of light.

I was hiking in other areas of the Alps and cross-country skiing in other, smaller mountains and I didn't feel the need for any eye protection.

Does the color really make such a difference?

(I'm asking because I'm myopic and would need to get custom sunglasses.)

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    That's exactly the place where I got the worst sunburn ever, but on snow (after only 2 hours of exposure). Don't forget to put suncream on your ears, be prepared for hell otherwise. I wouldn't dare go out there without sunglasses.
    – M.K.
    Aug 4, 2011 at 20:05
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    Can you wear contacts if so contacts and regular sunglasses or snow goggles over the top. The less fashionable but often cheaper option is clip-ons. I have a friend who worked out that for how often he needs to wear sunglasses its cheaper to get custom disposable contacts and a regular pair of sunglasses with good UV cover. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_blindness
    – Stuart
    Aug 30, 2011 at 13:16
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    The retina doesn't have pain receptors. Hence why you don't feel the need for sunglasses. In the meantime your eyes are frying.
    – JoErNanO
    Sep 2, 2015 at 20:28

3 Answers 3

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I would not only recommend sunglasses, but also suncream and clothes that protect you from the sunlight. UV radiation is generally lower during the winter months, but snow reflection can double your overall exposure, especially at high altitude.

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Depending on where exactly you're going to hike, a normal sunglas can be not even enough. If you're hiking on snow or especially glaciers, it is absolutely necessary to have snow goggles. The snow and ice reflects the light very strongly and you could damage your eyes severly if you go there without protection.

To quote from Wikipedia:

Mountain climbing or traveling across glaciers or snowfields requires above-average eye protection, because sunlight (including ultraviolet radiation) is more intense in higher altitudes, and snow and ice reflect additional light. Popular glasses for this use are a type called glacier glasses or glacier goggles. They typically have very dark round lenses and leather blinders at the sides, which protect the eyes by blocking the Sun's rays around the edges of the lenses.

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If you were skiing, I'm guessing the white snow wasn't too bright, so I doubt you'll have a problem. The only reason you might want to is to have UV protection for your eyes, but since you wear glasses, these will almost certainly block UV anyway.

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